Christians talk a lot about serving and giving and releasing rights and putting down self—and we should. It's part of the whole Christian package. It's expected, to an extent. But isn't it possible to go overboard on stuff like this?
Christians talk a lot about serving and giving and releasing rights and putting down self—and we
should. It's part of the whole Christian package. It's expected, to an extent.
But isn't it possible to go overboard on stuff like this? Aren't there some
people who will take advantage of servants and turn them into slaves? You bet
In fact, that is
the ace trump among cultic leaders. The secret of their success is mind
control. They want your mind, and they are not satisfied until they have
absolute control over it. The ultimate control is behavior modification, which
is just another word for brainwashing.
A tragic example
of this is the story of a religious leader named Jim Jones who headed a cult
called The People's Temple in the sixties and seventies. In part, Jones
preached a radical social gospel based on feeding the hungry and housing the
poor. But it went beyond that. Thousands flocked to his revival services, and
they eventually founded communes in California's Redwood Valley and around San
But the power was
apparently too much for Jones. At some point, he proclaimed himself the "only
hope for salvation," and there were stories about beatings and blackmail of his
followers, as well as rampant promiscuity. When officials began making
inquiries about Jones and his followers in 1976, The People's Temple fled to
the tiny nation of Guyana on the northeast coast of South America, where they
formed a community known as Jonestown. By 1978, the stories of violence and abuse at Jonestown hit the
headlines, compelling California congressman Leo Ryan and a group of
investigators to fly to Guyana to look into the charges. Shortly after
arriving, Ryan and his colleagues were machine-gunned and beaten to death! In
the aftermath, Rev. Jim Jones persuaded his followers to commit mass suicide by
drinking a concoction of Kool-Aid and cyanide.
This dark and
grisly affair shocked the entire world, but it proved just how far men and
women who are deluded by their lust for power will go to carry out their
fantasies. The story isn't mentioned very often these days, but may God help us
never to forget the
lessons of that terrible episode or the dangers that always follow when such
people gain complete control over other people's lives.